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Specializing in Treating Wrist Tendonitis

Awarding-Winning Orthopedic Services in Orange County

Do I have Wrist Tendonitis?

Wrist Tendonitis, also called tenosynovitis, occurs when the tendons around the wrist become irritated, inflamed or swollen and causes the synovium around the tendon in the hand or wrist to swell, changing the shape of the tendon sheath compartment and making it difficult for the tendons to move properly. Tendonitis can cause pain and tenderness along the hand or wrist that is particularly noticeable when grasping or gripping, forming a fist, or turning the wrist. Pain in the thumb-side of the wrist is the primary symptom of De Quervain's tendonitis, one of the most common types of wrist tendonitis.

It is important not to confuse wrist tendonitis with carpal tunnel. One may aggravate the other, but they are different conditions. Carpal tunnel is caused by compression of the nerve, whereas tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon.

Symptoms of Wrist Tendonitis

The most common cause of wrist tendonitis is simple, repetitive motions that can put stress on the tendon over time. Common activities such as playing sports, using a computer, writing or physical labor can all cause tendonitis.

The most common symptom described by patients with wrist tendonitis is wrist pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Hand or wrist pain
  • Swelling around the wrist joint
  • Stiffness of the wrist
  • Warmth and redness of the tendons around the wrist
  • Grinding sensations with movement of the tendons
  • Decreased range of motion in your hand
  • Weakness in hand when gripping, pinching, throwing, typing, using a computer mouse, or using a computer game controller

Diagnosing Wrist Tendonitis

When diagnosing wrist tendonitis, your physician may perform tests to stretch the specific tendons of concern to locate the precise source of inflammation to properly treat the root cause. For example, patients with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis have painful tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. In De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, the tunnel where the tendons run can narrow, or the tendons can take up extra space in the tunnel. In this condition, hand and thumb motion can cause pain, especially with forceful grasping or twisting.

Nonsurgical Wrist Tendonitis Treatment

Our goal at HOI is to take a conservative, nonsurgical approach whenever possible. Your wrist surgeon will develop a customized treatment plan and will attempt to exhaust all treatment options before recommending surgery. Nonsurgical treatments that can relieve wrist pain include:

  • Immobilization: A splint that stops you from moving your thumb and wrist
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Nonsteroidal (NSAIDs) can help to decrease inflammation and swelling. (e.g., Ibuprofen)
  • Cortisone Injection: A cortisone-type of steroid injection into the tendon compartment (Response can vary. While cortisone injections are safe but can weaken tendons over time if too many injections are given.)
  • Hand and Wrist Physical Therapy: Therapists can prescribe stretches and exercises to strengthen the hand and wrist. Electrical stimulation and ultrasound may also be used to alleviate pressure to the tendons and ligament that surround the joint.

Surgical Wrist Tendonitis Treatment

If these non-surgical treatments have not provided complete relief, surgery to open the tunnel and make more room for the tendons is recommended as a definitive treatment. It is a short procedure that usually can be done in an ambulatory surgery center without the need for general anesthesia.

Find a Wrist Doctor

Our Board-Certified, fellowship-trained wrist surgeons rank among the nation’s top physicians in their field. With a multi-disciplinary approach and focus on unique collaboration, you can benefit from a team of orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine doctors, pain management and physical rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, and orthopedic nurses who are all committed to your health. Schedule a consult with a wrist doctor today!

Find a wrist surgeon that treats wrist tendonitis.
Call us at (949) 705-6493 to make an appointment.

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